About noon on Christmas Day in London, I became the victim of a crime. Somebody smashed in the rear window of our family car; nothing serious, fortunately.
Nonetheless, it led me to the inevitable questions: Who did it and why? Was this an impersonal act driven purely by cold calculation? Or did the perpetrator harbour malice or resentment?
I'll probably never know. But on the causes of crime more generally, we do know a few things. First, seemingly trivial factors _ the location of street lights, road layouts, housing designs and so on _ often have a decisive influence on whether crime hits one place rather than another. Second, and more important, a sure recipe for more frequent crime is rising socioeconomic inequality.
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